Chicago is undergoing a barbecue boom and I am thrilled to try and discover new great BBQ spots. Unfortunately, Pork Shoppe is not one of them. They did some things I liked, but more that I did not. The concept is cool but lacking in execution. My favorite was the beef brisket taco, served with onion, lettuce and cilantro. The meat was great and the flavors all came together. I also enjoyed the mac 'n cheese side dish, served in a small tin, baked with bread crumbs and lots of the cheese. The disappointments were the pulled chicken and pulled pork sandwich, but more generally the sauce selection and value.
The four choices of meat (chicken, pork, brisket and steak) are served "deli style," meaning plain in a basket. Add $1 for a sandwich, and do your own saucing from the three available. This puts a lot of pressure on the sauces, which did not carry the day. I have my favorite BBQ sauces at home, and anyone one of them would have been preferred. I can eat almost anything with great BBQ, therefore I can see the appeal of deli style meats. But it does beg the question, what are you really getting for ~$6 of 1/4 of pulled pork?
It's still early and maybe I need to try the ribs. But it's hard to recommend and return to a BBQ spot where I don't love the sauces or the flavoring of the meat. The one side was good, and the $2 brisket taco was very good, everything else needs improvement.